Summary: Nehemiah came and fulfilled the challenge before him, we must also accept the challenge that God has placed before us.
TEXT: Nehemiah 1.3-6, 11
The book of Nehemiah is the conclusion to Old Testament history. He is giving the history of the third and final return of the Jews from captivity to the city of Jerusalem in 444 BC. This book emphasis the importance of spiritual recovery and a commitment to God and His Word.
Nehemiah plays an important role in the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. He held a prestigious position. He was cupbearer to the king of Persia (Artaxerxes I). He was born in captivity. Later in life he wants to find out what it is like in Jerusalem. He is told that the walls are destroyed. He then gets a burden for doing something for God. The building of the walls had been attempted before, but the king had stopped it. It appears that the people became satisfied just the way they were.
A. Nehemiah took the wine and gave it unto the king,
". . . Now I had not been beforetime sad in his presence." (Nehemiah 2:1)
B. His pain could not be concealed it from the king.
C. Having a sad countenance before a king could result in your death.
". . . Then I was very sore afraid," (Nehemiah 2:2)
A. Nehemiah had to be asked for his request before he could present it to the king.
"Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request . . ." (Nehemiah 2:4)
B. However, with us, we can,
". . . come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." (Hebrews 4:16)
C. We know that God knows our needs in advance.
". . . your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him." (Matthew 6:8)
D. We also know that when we,
"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:" (Matthew 7:7)
E. Notice what Nehemiah prays for.
1. Prayer for forgiveness.
". . . hear the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned . . . and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses." (Nehemiah 1:6, 7)
2. He reminds God of His promises.
a. ". . . If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations: But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments . . . I (will) gather them from thence . . . " (Nehemiah 1:8, 9)
b. That was like the children of Israel in bondage.
". . . God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob." (Exodus 2:24)
3. He had faith, just as we should have.
". . . If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth." (Mark 9:23)
F. God has told us.
"He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him." (Psalms 91:15)
A. He came with full authority of the Persian empire, yet he waits three days before he looks around and tells the others what God had laid upon his heart.
"So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days. And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem . . ." (Nehemiah 2:11, 12)
B. Nehemiah was waiting for the time to tell them.
"And the rulers knew not whither I went, or what I did; neither had I as yet told it . . ." (Nehemiah 2:16)
C. No one knew but Nehemiah, sometimes only God is the one who knows what is about to take place.
D. He saw the devastation, and then tells them what can be and will be done.
". . . Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach." (Nehemiah 2:17)
E. They rallied behind him.
". . . And they said, Let us rise up and build . . ." (Nehemiah 2:18)
He came with full authority of the king of Persia, yet he still had enemies who came against him, we come with full power and authority of Christ, yet we still have enemies who will come against us.
A. The enemy laughs at them.
1. "But when (they) . . . heard it, they laughed us to scorn . . ." (Nehemiah 2:19)